In this episode of How to Live a Life of Peace with Food, I talk about a way of relating to food that doesn’t involve dieting and will bring you peace and freedom: it incorporates Intuitive and Mindful Eating.
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Welcome to my bite-size video series on How to Live a Life of Peace with Food. If you’ve watched an earlier video on the False Promises of Diets, you’ll know that dieting is a fruitless pursuit, that not only doesn’t bring long term weight loss, it also doesn’t make you healthier or happier.
If you’ve been on the dieting rollercoaster for years, your relationship with food and your body has probably become… well… a little complicated (to say the least).
But what’s the alternative?
In this video I’m going to talk to you about a way of relating to food that will bring you peace and freedom: it incorporates Intuitive Eating and Mindful Eating.
I’ll tell you what they are and share 5 ways that these practices will transform your relationship with food.
My name is Vania Phitidis and I am the founder of Peaceful Eating, where I help people stop obsessing about their bodies and what, when and how much to eat, so they feel relaxed around food, at ease in their bodies, and use all that freed up energy to do the things that really matter to them. I’m a certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor, a qualified Mindful Eating coach and I’ve been mentoring and coaching people for over two decades.
I’ll start today’s topic by briefly introducing the concept of Intuitive Eating
Intuitive Eating was first developed by 2 dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch with whom I took my professional training. They developed it in the mid 1990s as a response to what they saw happening in their practices: clients struggling to lose weight and maintain it. They realised that weight control is a set-up and instead wanted to help their clients normalise their relationship with food and their bodies.
Intuitive Eating is really about relearning how to trust your body to guide you with your eating. This means getting back into a dialogue with your body so you can listen to and honour its signals: for food, water, movement and rest. It’s also about learning how to recognise the feedback from your body about the food you eat or the exercise you’re doing, so you can make choices that work for you.
But it’s not just about the body – Intuitive Eating involves managing your mind too – because if you’ve been dieting for years, you’ll have internalised the Diet Police – rules picked up or made up, about what, when and how much to eat and exercise; as well as harsh criticisms about your body and how you should look… all these messages need to be recognised and challenged.
Intuitive Eating also involves learning how to meet your needs and manage your emotional life without resorting to food by default, and over time, getting into a balanced and nurturing relationship with food and exercise.
Let’s turn our attention now to Mindful Eating
Mindful Eating is a mindfulness practice. You’ve probably heard about mindfulness as it has gained popularity in many areas of life over the last few decades. In a nutshell, being mindful means being aware in the present moment, of one’s sensory experience, thoughts and feelings without judgement. It’s essentially about awareness and acceptance of what is, at any moment.
Mindful eating then, is being aware of:
- your thoughts (about the food, your body, or in fact anything else that might arise in your mind as you’re eating);
- your physical sensations, which would include you hunger, fullness and satisfaction levels;
- the taste of the food, how it smells and looks, and the sounds you’re aware of as you’re eating;
- as well as any emotional feelings that may be present.
If you decide to banish diets from your life, and I really hope you will, because let’s face it, it’s a miserable existence, and you decide instead to embrace intuitive and mindful eating, you won’t look back!
Here are 5 ways your life will change:
The first benefit is: No more guilt!
Imagine being able to eat again without feeling guilty! No more ‘guilty pleasures!’ Ugh – I detest that term! Why should eating ever be something to feel guilty about? When you learn to give yourself unconditional permission to eat what you want, when you want, your cravings will radically reduce – they’ll become more physically based, rather than a reaction to restriction or deprivation.
This leads to benefit #2: No more food crazies!
You won’t be thinking about food from the time you open your eyes in the morning to the time you close them again at night. You’ll wake up with other things to think about, not whether you’ll fit into your clothes today, or berating yourself for how you ate yesterday – or worried about how you’ll eat today.
You’ll come to a place where most of the time, you think about food when you’re getting hungry, when you need to cook or do the grocery shopping.
And when you do sometimes eat for reasons other than hunger, you’ll be okay with it, because you’ll know that everyone overeats sometimes. No big deal. You’ll move on and think about food again when you’re hungry.
Benefit #3: No more bingeing!
Can you see that when you’re not forbidding any foods, not going hungry, not restricting or counting macros – but rather, eating a variety of foods mostly according to your hunger and satisfaction cues, and accepting yourself as you are, that you will at the very least, radically reduce, and likely stop bingeing altogether? I have seen this happen again and again, and it’s possible for you too!
Benefit #4: Let your body find its happy weight
Over time, as Mindful and Intuitive Eating become more natural to you, your body will find its happy weight. This a weight you body can easily sustain when you’re eating mostly when you’re hungry, stopping most of the time when you’re comfortably full, eating a variety of foods without restricting anything and moving your body in ways you enjoy. It’s the weight that is healthiest for your individual body.
Benefit #5: More enjoyment and energy for other things
With less mental energy expended on thinking and worrying about your body, weight and food, you’ll be freed up to create, to participate in and enjoy life! As you disentangle yourself from the grip of diet mentality, you’ll find more enjoyment in life.
Instead of making yourself go to the gym to do a hard workout, when you’re dog-tired, you might choose a hot bath, or a yoga class – or going to a movie with a friend. You might look at a restaurant menu with real curiosity about the options, rather than look for the option with the least carbs or calories.
You’ll loosen up.
You’ll become more flexible in your thinking and your behaviour.
THE QUALITY OF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WILL IMPROVE!
I’d love to know if this was useful to you.
Please leave your questions and comments below and I will do my best to reply to them personally. If this video was helpful, please share it, it might help someone else.
Visit my website where you’ll find hundreds of helpful blogs and links to my free eBook and Facebook Community. If you want tailored, expert and compassionate support in making peace with food, eating and your body – book a free Discovery Session to explore working 1:1.
Until then, bye from me, and I’ll see you in the next bite-size video on How to Live a Life of Peace with Food.